Connotative meaning of abstract visual patterns and pseudowords  

Janković D.
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia

Meaning of concepts is mostly composed of denotative (objective) and connotative (subjective) semantic features. In previous studies we established the factorial structure of connotative meaning for concepts and suggested a parsimonious instrument named connotative differential. In the present study, we tried to specify the basic connotative meaning structure of stimuli without conventional meaning and stimuli from two different modalities: visual and verbal (i.e. abstract visual gestalt and nonsense verbal material - pseudowords). In experiment 1, subjects (N=82) were asked to evaluate abstract visual patterns on 35 bipolar scales (adjectives with opposite meaning defined the poles of scales). The selection of scales for the instrument was based on the previous studies. The stimuli were constructed in order to cover a wide spectrum of visual gestalten. The principal component analysis using promax rotation method was performed for all abstract visual patterns in order to establish invariant factorial structure, independent of evaluated content. The results showed that scales converge in three main factors: evaluative, cognitive, and conative. In experiment 2, the same group of subjects evaluated 32 pseudowords using the same instrument. Principal component analysis showed the same triple factorial structure as in experiment 1. Obtained results are compatible with the previous results on concepts and confirm robust structure and cross-modal nature of connotative meaning.